Posts Tagged ‘PSA’

I just wanted to take a moment to address the sexual misconduct involving one of the giant massage therapy chains that has been in the news recently.  I am horrified and disgusted that someone in my profession has violated the sanctity of our collective healing space.

People come to massage to find a safe place in which to let their mind and body relax and begin the healing process. Obviously, it’s not to be assaulted. While it is impossible for an employer to control individual employees’ actions, it is deplorable that virtually nothing has been done to address the now hundreds of complaints that have been filed against these employees. The company owes their clientele better and I will be surprised if there’s not repercussions for not removing predators from their employ in a timely manner. I am saddened that so many people are now having to deal with the trauma of being assaulted when they rightly believed they were safe.

All that being said, I just wanted to make sure that you, as a consumer of massage, know exactly what to expect when you schedule a massage. And I want to give you some straight talk about what to do if ANYONE or ANYTHING ever makes you feel uncomfortable while receiving massage with any bodyworker, anywhere.

As a massage therapist and bodyworker, my main goal is to help you feel better. I strive to create a safe, comfortable space for you. You will find this is a common thread among people who practice a healing art. We know receiving massage can be an incredibly vulnerable experience. Most of the time you will be unclothed to some degree, possibly lying face down, and someone you may not know yet will be touching you. I never want you to feel unsafe or uncomfortable so read on and know that you are always in charge when you are receiving a massage.

A Bodywork Client’s Bill of Rights

  1. If you’re uncomfortable for any reason, tell us. It’s not going to hurt my feelings if you don’t like my music, if you feel cold, if the sheet feels scratchy or if I’m actually hurting you.
  2. If you feel unsafe for any reason, tell us. It’s not going to hurt my feelings and I need to figure out what’s wrong so you can feel safe again.
  3. If you feel like you want to stop the session and leave for any reason, tell us. It’s not going to hurt my feelings and I don’t want to subject you to an experience you don’t want.
  4. If you feel like you need to cry, let it out. You might startle me, but I’m not going to run away.
  5. Your massage is your time. It may be the only hour you get this week, month, or year to be perfectly yourself and let your mind and body enter into a healing state so please tell me if there’s something I need to do to help you have the best massage experience possible.

What To Do If You’re Assaulted During a Massage

  1. If you’re able, stop the session and leave the establishment immediately.
  2. Once you are safe, go directly to the police department or the emergency department (depending on the severity of the assault).
  3. Expect to make a police report on the incident.
  4. After making a police report ask the police if it is okay for you to call the business and make a formal complaint against the therapist. This is assuming this happened in a multi-therapist office.
  5. Make a formal complaint against the therapist with the state Board of Massage Therapy.

I hope this never happens to you. I hope it never happens to anyone and I am horrified that it has happened at all.

How To Prevent Assault During a Massage

Unfortunately, in our world as it currently stands it is impossible to prevent someone from doing harm if they are intent on committing assault. Even if you’re willing to use deadly force to protect yourself there’s no guarantee you won’t still be hurt in the process. Such a sad and frightening prospect, but there are a few things you can do to try to protect yourself.

As a massage therapist in the State of Alabama, I am required to maintain a massage therapy license with the state. In order to do that I have to agree to and abide by a whole host of laws that deal with the ethical treatment of my clients. Many of those laws specifically outline boundaries and forbid me from assaulting a client. Not that I need a law to know that it’s just wrong to assault a client… So when considering going to a new massage therapist make sure they are licensed. And there are a few other things you can do, here’s how to tell if they’re legit and agree to ethical boundaries.

I hope you have found some helpful information here. And while I would have preferred to never have to address this situation, please know that Harvest Moon Massage Therapy will always be a safe space where you don’t have to worry about your personal safety.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Exclusive Provider of Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage!
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There’s a dirty little secret lurking in your clothes dryer. For years I’ve heard safety experts talk about cleaning your dryer to prevent fires. And for years I thought, “What a load!” and “Who has time for that?” and “That won’t happen to me!”

Until one day I noticed my dryer wasn’t performing particularly well. It was about 11 years old. And I began to wonder whether there was anything to this cleaning out the dryer for better performance thing I’d been hearing about. I Googled about it and everything came back with, “Clean your dryer!”

So then I got on YouTube and searched for my brand and style of dryer and lo and behold found a wonderful Hispanic man speaking in English showing how to clean out my particular dryer. His accent was fabulous! And his style was fun so one morning I sat about cleaning my dryer. Did I mention it had been 11 years? It was frightening. I wish I had taken pictures. There were literally bricks of compressed lint built up in the thing.

Fast forward a few more years down the road and said dryer gave up the ghost. Right in the middle of a load of sheets. And a mere two weeks after I had cleaned the machine and the exhaust system out. Hmmmph!

Somehow I managed to score a new-to-me, used dryer for the most reasonable price ever (free). Then one morning I went to work and when I arrived home it was installed and all my sheets were dry. Gotta love your neighbors!

So because I now know what dryers can look like on the inside and I didn’t have any maintenance history on this thing, I decided I should probably clean it. This time I took pictures and I wanted to show you why it’s important to clean out your dryer.

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This is what I found when I got the front panel off. Notice the “mice” made out of lint and the whispy nature of the wiring. Something else that was immediately apparent is that a lot of the foam seals had lost their adhesive and were hanging or just disintegrating. These are important to fix or replace because the seals keep the lint in the exhaust system and not in the interior of the dryer with the electrical parts. Aka, fire hazard!
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There were rafts of lint in the corners and standing on top of flat surfaces and all the electrical and motorized parts were covered in lint.
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The exhaust trap was caked with hardened lint on the inside and covered in dust and lint on the outside.
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And possibly the scariest part of all was this turbine thingamajig that I pulled this pile of lint out of. The good news is that with a vacuum, a little flexibility, elbow grease, and time this easy household task was accomplished and now I don’t feel like I have to stand over the dryer with a fire extinguisher every time I turn it on.

I’m not even going to address the bacterial potential for what goes on in the innards of a dryer. Just know that you really don’t want to leave wet clothes hanging out in your dryer. Trust me. Really, trust me on that. And over dry everything just a tad.

Since I do so much laundry, three to four loads per day just in sheets, I clean my dryer out every three months. I’m not sure what is recommended for a normal household, but I will tell you that 11 years was way, way too long. We were lucky. So if you haven’t lately (or ever), make time to clean out your dryer!

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Barefoot Massage Specialist!

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Recently I started attending an Alzheimer’s/Dementia Caregiver Support group. Many of you already know that I help to care for an elder who has severe dementia. We spent several years struggling along by ourselves trying our best to provide the support she needs as her dementia continues to escalate.

Then last year a friend turned me on to these meetings at the Morgan County Mental Health Association. They are for caregivers and family members of people who suffer with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and I can’t say enough about how helpful this program and the people who run it have been. Whether you need advice on services available in the community to help you and your loved one cope with the frightening changes they’re experiencing or you just need a break and to sit and talk with someone who understands they seem to know and be available for you.

I didn’t get to attend the last meeting which is a shame because they hosted a local specialist on Elder Law. That would have been helpful. Maybe next month I can get a synopsis of what we should be doing and looking at.

Anyway, if you’re local to Morgan County, Alabama and struggling with Alzheimer’s and/or dementias in your family, this meeting is free and open to the community.

When: 3rd Tuesday of the month, 7 – 8:30 pm

Where: 207 Commerce Circle SW, Decatur, AL

More info: Morgan County Mental Health Association

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Ashi-Thai Massage

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usda-guide-to-nutrition-labels-ga-1I was at Target earlier today trying to buy myself a salad for lunch when a conversation broke out in front of me. Seems the gentleman checking everyone out hadn’t had his lunch yet and it being lunchtime he was scanning and bagging lots of peoples’ lunches. It was making him hungry. That’s when the lady in front of me, who was slurping on some slushy Starbucks chocolatey-looking thing, busted out with, “This shake is my lunch.”

I looked at her and tried not to judge her at that point. Who drinks a coffee drink for lunch and how do you survive the rest of the day if you do? Which then led me to wonder how many calories are in something like that? Hmm… less than I expected, but the sugar, yikes!

Which then led me to wonder how many people care? And do you know how to read a nutrition label? Do you read nutrition labels?

Maybe I’m just special that way, but I read the label on everything. Even those bottles of drops you’re supposed to put in your water to make it flavorful. I don’t use that stuff cause I don’t know what all those chemicals are in the ingredient list.

So because I’m feeling all tutorish right now and also like I need to atone for judging the Starbucks lady, here’s the quick and dirty on how to read the nutrition labels on foods.

Serving size – This is always good to check because many foods and beverages are packaged for more than one serving. Disappointing, I know.

Servings Per Container – That tells you how many servings are in the box, bag or bottle.

Now here’s the tricky part, every other number on this label is calculated for the serving size (not the whole container). That means if there are two servings in the package and you eat the whole thing you get double the number of calories, fats, cholesterol, carbohydrates and proteins. Four servings, and you need to multiply it by four. Get it?

I’m not going to go into each one of those categories because frankly everybody is different and their nutritional needs are different. It’s impossible to say eat this, don’t eat that because I don’t know what you require.

Add to that even the people who are supposed to be experts on nutrition disagree on what we should and should not be eating. In the 80’s eggs were the mortal enemy to cholesterol. Now they’re ok. High fructose corn syrup, if the manufacturer is to be believed it’s A-OK in moderation, but there are studies saying it increases your chance to develop diabetes. Artificial sweeteners used to be the bees knees, but now some are considered neurotoxins.

My rule of thumb, if I can’t pronounce it, I’m probably not going to eat it. If the ingredients are unrecognizable, I’m probably not going to eat it. Now before you think I’m just all la-ti-da about the food, I should probably disclose that I spent a lot of years not caring what went in to my body. Fortunately my massage career (and my cholesterol level) changed all that. I have to manage my food and my health more closely now so that I can feel good, be available to help my clients feel better and, ultimately, stay in business.

So what about you? What’s your food policy?

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy Massage

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When Is Your Next Massage?

Massage Therapists, I’m talking to you. When is your next massage?  I see you rubbing your toe in the dirt. When was your last massage? Now your ears are turning red. I know how that feels, my mentor recently crawled me for not taking care of myself.

Why is it that we, as massage therapists, seem to be the last ones crawling on the table for a massage? I don’t have time is a common answer. I’m too busy taking care of my clients/children/pets/house/office. I know. I’m there.

But how can we expect to be taken seriously when our clients watch us breaking ourselves down as we are telling them they need to x, y and z to take better care of themselves? If we believe they need to come see us once a week, every other week, once a month then how is it we don’t need massage?

In addition to my mentor calling me out, one of my very regular clients recently began asking me, “Who gives you a massage?” The first time she asked and heard my answer she made it clear she was not happy with it. She expressed to me that it made her feel guilty to know I was massaging her when I never go take care of myself by getting a massage. It had been months, she was right, and oh, the guilt I suffered over that conversation.

She comes once a month, she asks once a month and she expects an answer. One that goes sorta like, “My last massage was with Megan. She did a great job and my feet and legs feel a lot better!” (True story, that.)

I have set a new intention. At least one massage per month in the year of 2013. It’s going to be hard. I’m stirring a lot of pots right now, just like you, but I challenge you anyway. I challenge you to pick up the phone and make a massage appointment for yourself, right now. Leave a voice mail if you have to, but do it. Your clients deserve it.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Newest Provider of Fijian Barefoot Massage

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Roses are Red, Violets are Blue
Guess Who I Haven’t Seen Lately?

Is it you?

Is it time for you to schedule a massage now that all the Valentine’s Day craziness is over? I’d love to see you on my table this month. Call today to schedule your next massage.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Ashi-Thai Massage

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Before I became a massage therapist I’d had a few massages, not too many, but every single time I would stand there wondering, “Take them off or leave them on?” I’m talking about underwear, panties, drawers, tighty whiteys, we had a variety of names for them when I was a kid. After I grew up I learned that going without was called, “Going Commando,” which I personally think is better suited to the gentleman as a term. But, I digress…

Recently I had a client come in completely freaked out. It seems she had run out of the house that morning ‘Commando’. Is that the way you use that term? I don’t know, but you get what I’m saying. She stood in front of me like a child, chin to chest and “confessed.” I think she expected me to send her home or scold her. Instead I just started laughing. Perhaps not the most professional response, but I just couldn’t help myself and she’s that kind of client.

When I was in massage school our instructors would stride through the lab proclaiming, “And you are required to take your underwear off for labs.” Thus we learned to work the glutes uninhibited. When we started working on the public for our practicals, underwear became a tricky subject. One instructor insisted practice clients be nude, another wasn’t so insistent and let the client choose. Thus we learned to work the glutes around and through underclothes. Both equally important skills.

So what is my policy at Harvest Moon Massage? I let the client choose. I tell them that the more they take off, the better their massage will be as I will be able to more efficiently work the hips and glutes. Some choose to remove, others not so much. I’m fine with both and I think most massage therapists feel the same way though I have been to some who tell you to keep your drawers on. I’m not sure what’s up with that, perhaps they’ve had some kind of trouble in the past. I just find it hard not to remove. After a year of getting massages in school and learning how much better a massage can be on the glutes and hips when the therapist has free access I just can’t not.

Of course, all of this talk about removing underwear brings up the subject of trust. It’s hard to bare it all to someone. I’m going to write a separate post on that. But for now, just know that it’s ok. Whatever you’re comfortable with, I can work with.

Sharon BryantHarvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, Ashi-Thai and Bamboo-Fusion Massage

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